Neodesha in Wilson County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Norman No. 1
Opening well of the Mid-Continent Field
Kansas has long been oil country. There are legends that Indians held council around the lights of burning springs. Immigrants, it is known, skimmed "rock tar" from such oil seeps to grease the axles of their wagons.
Three blocks southeast, on the banks of the Verdigris River, is the site of one of the most famous oil wells in the United States. This derrick is a replica of the Norman No. 1, the first commercially successful well of the Mid-Continent field. It was drilled November 1892, by McBride and Bloom of Independence, Kansas, for William Mills of Osawatomie, Kansas, on land owned by T. J. Norman. The price was $2.50 per foot.
On November 28, 1892, when drilling reached 832 feet, oil began to flow. The Norman No. 1 did indeed provide Major Mills with evidence that oil was pooled beneath the plains of the Middle West.
Mills plugged it and hurried to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with samples. These so galvanized backers Guffy and Galey that they leased a million acres while Norman No. 1 remained plugged for ten months.
On October 1, 1892, the well was shot by G. M. Perry of Oswego, Kansas. Its initial production was 12 barrels daily. After producing for 26 years it was abandoned because of a leaky casing.
Oil was first drilled in Kansas in 1860, near Paola, Kansas, but the sinking of Norman
Location. 37° 25.029′ N, 95° 40.445′ W. Marker is in Neodesha, Kansas, in Wilson County. Marker is on Main Street (U.S. 75) near 1st Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker and derrick are at the Norman No. 1 Oil Well Museum. Marker is in this post office area: Neodesha KS 66757, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Actual Site of Norman No. 1 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sgt Mike Ritter (approx. 0.3 miles away); World War II Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Soldiers of the World War (approx. 0.4 miles away); Brown Hotel (approx. 0.4 miles away); Opening of the Mid-Continent Oil Field (approx. 1.2 miles away); Dutch Lorbeer (approx. 1.2 miles away); World War Homefront and Neodesha Cemetery Association Founders Memorial Pavilion (approx. 1.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Neodesha.
Also see . . .
1. 1893 Photo of Norman No. 1 Oil Well. (Submitted on July 19, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Norman No. 1 at Kansapedia. (Submitted on July 19, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Norman No. 1 Oil Well National Register Nomination (Submitted on July 19, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Exploration • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 246 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.